Another article regarding Haggard and reparative therapy

AP’s David Crary covers the Haggard issue with comments from the usual suspects.

This article covers some of the same ground as the Denver Post article on November 12. I was struck by a couple of points in this article. There was a certain dogmatism to the APA commenters. Doug Haldeman said there is nothing good that can come from conversion therapy. This is an extreme statement that is at odds with the experience of many who have been involved in it. Possible harm, yes; but “nothing good?” – I think that is easily falsified and is actually contrary to some of Dr. Haldeman’s writings in APA journals.

I thought Joe Nicolosi made a good point by pointing out that each individual has the perogative to determine what same-sex attractions mean to him within a valuative framework. However, in my opinion, he undermined his position to some degree by assessing Mr. Haggard’s history, apparently without any knowledge of him (one hopes it is without experiential knowledge), as needing to face “…the realities that you [Haggard] did not get certain central affirmations from your mother or your father…” How would one know that?

Mr. Crary correctly points out that:

There have been numerous studies, with varying conclusions, on how homosexuality originates and whether it can be changed. But there has been no authoritative study – accepted by both sides – examining the effectiveness and possible ill-effects of reparative therapy.

And so dogmatism on any side seems unwarranted.

9 thoughts on “Another article regarding Haggard and reparative therapy”

  1. If Nicolosi’s theories are true, then I guess I am the only homo in the world who has, and continues to have, a great relationship with his dad.

  2. I agree with Dr. Throckmorton: “Values and beliefs ought to guide such decisions”. We need to “hold to an authority” and “live by wisdom that may not comport with our own private inclinations”. Living only in accordance with one’s own inlicnations puts the individual at the center of the universe with no guiding light but his own reflection.

    But, what principle should guide our values, beliefs, decisions? What wisdom should we employ? I employ the wisdom of the Bible and the over-arching moral principle that Jesus taught: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind. Love you neighbor as yourself”.

    To me, this means that in all my thoughts and actions, I should be asking: “Does this express love to God? Does this express love for my fellow man as another of God’s children?” If not, it’s not “moral” — even if my “experience” or “society” says it’s OK.

    The way I see it, there are two types of Christians:

    (1) “LIST” Christians — these believers look down a “list” of do’s and dont’s that they have read (or more often have been TOLD to them) and OBEY. “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it” is their motto. They rarely (if ever) question what the Bible REALLY teaches or what makes a praticular attitude or behavior “sin”. They just look down the list until they find the thing in question: “Dancing in sin”, “Eating meat is sin”, “homosexuality is sin”, etc. It’s all very black and white, doesn’t require much thinking — just memorization.

    (2) “NON-list” Christians who cannot depend on such “lists” but who try at all times to do the “moral” thing — in terms of loving and honoring God and His Children. Corrie Ten Boom lying to the Nazi’s for example. Healing on the Sabbath. Breaking into a pharmacy to get medical supplies to dying people during a natural disaster.

    It’s NOT situation ehtics. It goes much deeper than that. It requires that we sacrifice OUR will to God’s will and the welfare of his children. It requires real thought, prayer and ultimate esteem for God and his Children.

    t reminds me of the Hebrew National Salami commercial — “We answer to a higher authority”. We aim to do what is RIGHT and MORAL — even if it contradicts the list. EMPATHY, justice, love and grace (not obedience to law) is the basis of any true morality. Jesus seems to contradict the “list” of his day many, many times — to the shock and outrage of the “moral” teachers of His day.

  3. Nicolosi: “It’s irrelevant if it’s society’s fault.”

    Is this man completely amoral? Heartless? I don’t get it. How can he say such a thing? It sounds like all that matters to him is that his client is unhappy, it doesn’t seem to matter why. Even if the “why” is the ignorance, fear or hatred heaped upon his client by others. How can this man call himself a therapist or a scientist?

  4. Here is another statement that defies understanding: Nicolosi said NARTH opposes anti-gay prejudice, but he contended that social factors which trouble gays are a legitimate reason for seeking therapy. “It’s more difficult to live as a gay man than as a heterosexual,” he said. “We wish to respond to those clients who feel that it is. … It’s irrelevant if it’s society’s fault.”

  5. With respect boo, I don’t think Nicolosi was saying that self-abhorrence is dignified. There is a distinction between abhorring one part of oneself (and only a part) and abhorring oneself as a person. Many people may have things about them that they, rightly or wrongly, abhor, but this isn’t necessarily the same thing as self-hatred.

  6. Throckmorton: “This is an extreme statement that is at odds with the experience of many who have been involved in it. Possible harm, yes; but “nothing good?”

    I have to agree. I am against repartive therapy on many levels, but I have met people (exgays and such) who are living happier, less self-destructive, more congruent lives now. That’s harm redcution and that’s a good thing, even if is doesn’t change your orientation.

  7. You have to admit this was pretty messed up:

    “If this man is saying, ‘This is a part of me that I abhor,’ why can’t we respect that?” Nicolosi asked. “Why do we have to attribute that to something external and take away the dignity of the individual to express how he feels?”

    Yes, if only we could all find the true dignity that exists in self-abhorrance. Too bad the article didn’t mention NARTH’s history of defending slavery and child abuse.

  8. It is hard to know where to start with this article. The dogatism of both sides about what the other side thinks or does precludes anything constructive.

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